Subiaco's main retail strip is about to be taken over by crowds of people gawking into shopfronts like they did in the thrilling, covetous first days of television in the 1950s.
The reason will be the free outdoor promenade performance La Marea, a rolling series of nine short scenes to be played out repeatedly over two hours in shop windows, balconies and the footpath along Rokeby Road.
La Marea (The Tide) is a major element in the Vital Stages program run by the Perth International Arts Festival, which has linked Argentinean director Mariano Pensotti with dozens of local writers, directors and actors for the four-night season starting tomorrow.
Originally staged in Buenos Aires, La Marea has been rewritten in English with a specific WA flavour.
The experience has been compared to walking around a film set as the actors play out personal scenes in a public place.
Setting up the production yesterday, Pensotti said the show would blur the border between fiction and reality and audiences would get a cinematic peek into the secret moments and personal journeys of other people.
"The idea is to give the audience the impression that they have become a voyeur in someone else's life," Pensotti said. "What you are seeing is a collection of ordinary life.
"We are trying to take a real street and imagine all the stories that happen on one night. For me it is flowing like a tide of stories and the audience is flowing between them as well.
"The process is like the action of looking at a stranger in the street or in a public space and wondering what they are thinking, what their story is, what they are doing there, what their future will be.
"The audience is placed in a subtly voyeuristic position, as if it were spying inside someone else's house."
One of the leading lights in Argentina's vibrant theatre scene, Pensotti has studied cinema, visual arts and theatre. His performances have been presented around the world.
"Its main goal is to change the perception you have about a very ordinary place in your own city that you might have seen thousands of times," Pensotti said.
Scenes will be played out with subtitles on a screen to give background and interior thoughts of the characters.
One scene portrays a motorcycle accident, another involves a couple's final meal together and another gets into the mind of a woman while she is serving two customers.La Marea starts at 8pm and runs from tomorrow to Sunday. The nine scenes, each lasting 10 minutes, will be repeated 10 times so they can be watched in any order as the audience walks along the closed-off Rokeby Road.
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